In Chinese, Yi 意 means mind while Quan 拳 means boxing. According to Master Ren-Gang Wang 王仁剛 , Yiquan (意拳 or Yi Chuan aka 大成拳 Dachengquan) emphasizes the importance of the mind during the practice of boxing.
Born in China, Master Wang Ren-Gang is a 3rd generation lineage holder of Dachengquan under Master Wang Xuan Jie. He is also a 5th generation lineage holder for northern Hao Style Plum Blossom Mantis under Hao Wei Zhi, and 6th generation disciple for Sanxi Style Xingyiquan, and Cheng Style Baguazhang under Li Tai Liang. At the encouragement of Grandmaster Pui Chan, he came to the U.S. to compete in an international martial art tournament in 2000 hosted by Grandmaster Chan and won a few gold medals. Later, at the recommendation of Grandmaster Chan, Master Wang immigrated to the U.S. and now resides in New York City, NY.
As a Chinese martial art style, Dachenquan is young and has a very short history. Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai 王薌齋 created it in 1928 and named it Yiquan, but later retitled it Dachengquan in 1940. Due to its ferocious fighting techniques, it was once considered by the Chinese martial art community as a gangster style boxing. Master Ren-Gang Wang, who is not related to Grandmaster Wang Xiang by blood, stated that Dachengquan has theory, techniques, and footwork. Unlike Tai Chi Chuan, Dachengquan does not have a routine or a sequence of movements.
There are seven focuses in the training method, which are Standing Post (站椿 or Zhan Zhuang), Tang Ni Bu (淌泥步 or drag the feet in the mud), Shi Li (試力 or test the energy), Dan Shou Cao (單操手 or single movements), Push Hands (推手 or Push Hands), Shi Sheng (試聲 or make the noise), and Shi Zuo (試作 or apply the combating techniques). Standing Post is the most important one and serves as the foundation of all the other training efforts. Tang Ni Bu is the footwork. Wang said that it was inspired by Bagua walking, but not limited to walking in circles. Additionally, a practitioner needs to focus on the feet as if they were walking in the mud and dragging their feet. Shi Li is to utilize the energy created from the Zhan Zhuang in movements.
Dan Shou Cao is single movement of the arms, legs, and body. There are five energy exertion movements as well as ten movements to mimic various animals. Dachenquan’s Push Hands is different than Tai Chi Chuan’s and concentrates on combat techniques. Shi Sheng is how to make the noise properly during Fa Jin to release energy. Shi Zuo is actual fighting with full intent.
In most Tai Chi Chuan practice, there is one standard Standing Post. Nevertheless, Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei of Chen Style Tai Chi stated that a practitioner could choose various positions or posts to stand to increase his or her Qi and martial art strength. At Dachengquan, there are 12 different posts: Hun Yuan Zhuang (Holding a Ball or 浑圆桩, 抱球式), Ti Cha Zhuang (提插桩), Ti Bao Zhuang (提抱桩), Tui Tuo Zhuang (推托桩), Fu An Zhuang (扶按桩), Xiu Xi Zhuang (Resting or 休息桩), Ji Ji Zhuang (Combating or 技击桩), Fu Yun Zhuang (扶云桩), Tuo Ying Zhuang (Holding a Baby or 托婴桩), Fu Hu Zhuang (Subduing a Tiger or 伏虎桩), Xiang Long Zhuang (Overpowering a Dragon or 降龙桩), and Du Li Zhuang (Standing Independently or 独立桩).
The first six Zhan Zhuangs focus on life nurturing and the other six to increase martial art prowess. From the photos below, you can tell that some of the posts are very similar in looks: however, Master Wang explained the intent or the focus of the mind for each one is totally different.
During the recent 2017 Tai Chi Gala, Master taught Dachengquan Zhan Zhuang mostly for the mediational purpose. In the workshop he demonstrated all 12 posts, but concentrated on the teaching of the first six posts. He helped students learn and feel how standing meditations can be used to correct one’s Qi flow and bring people back to a natural and ideal state of homeostasis. He taught how to locate the tension in one’s body and then release it. With continuous practice, one can develop the proper body structure, grow the Qi circulation, and obtain the “Peng” (掤 or buoyancy) energy, which is essential in all internal martial art practice.
(Edited by Doc Luecke.)
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